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Citizenship by Marriage


I'm a US citizen currently living in the US. I was born here and have lived here my whole life. I'm engaged to someone who is a dual citizen in the US and in Belgium. They were born in Belgium to one Belgian and one American parent. They have lived here for years, but want to move back to Belgium. That sounds great to me, too! So, what is the best way to do this? Many options, and many questions!

Our current plan is to be married here in the US in January. Then, move to Belgium together. However, I'm not sure if that's the best option. First of all, they haven't lived in Belgium since they were under 18. But they can still hop of the plane and get a job and rent an apartment and register to vote and everything, right? They don't need to do anything to be allowed to work, reside, etc?

Secondly, can I apply for a visa simply for being married to them...? Like, do I need to have any other reason to be there? Please also consider that my spouse will have not lived in Belgium since they were a teen, so factor that in, in case it affects their ability to be my reason for applying for a visa. All of the info I could find about this sort of thing were Americans who wanted to go to Belgium and then marry a citizen while they were there. But if I'm already married to a Belgian citizen, what do I do...?

OR, is there no info on this because being married to someone doesn't count for crap? If so, would it be better to have a wedding here but not *actually* get married (ie a party with no license) and THEN move over there, and do a courthouse gig? Because we're fine with that, too. We want to do whatever is easiest.


I'm not clear what you'd need I think getting married there is the first step, you may nthen need a civil ceremony here or getting your marriage recordered by a noitaire to ensure it's recognised. However if it's a serious commitment why would you not want a real marriage at home? Plus a civil ceremony here wouldn't cost a lot of money but it would make your marriage legal here too. I think your spouse would probrsbly need to have some way to show they can support you before you would easily get the correct permissions to come especially as they seem to have limited ties here. Do you plan to work? Study? Raise a family all of these things would need to be considered. I'd also suggest your fiancé seeks advice from the Belgian embassy in your home country about what visa you would need.
Also I would think about making this a short plan say three years so if it doesn't work out you can easily agree to go home. It's quite tough living outside your home nation in some respects.

Oct 28, 2016 01:08

Your partner definitely needs to take advice from the Belgian embassy in the US.
The concept of automatic nationality on marriage no longer exists and it is not even guaranteed that you will be allowed to enter Belgium just because you are married to a Belgian citizen. (This is not exclusive to Belgium, it's common throughout Europe.) You will need to satisfy the authorities that your marriage - whether it has taken place in the US or is planned for Belgium - is genuine and not simply a means to give YOU access to the EU. Obviously this is not a problem for a couple who have been married for some years but it will be in your case.

Oct 28, 2016 10:04

I agree, I'd get advice from the US Belgian embassy - as Kasseistamper says, you can't claim Belgian nationality purely on the basis of marriage to a Belgian anymore. You actually have to be resident in Belgium in order to do that in the first place.

My understanding is that if your spouse can enter Belgium and do whatever he/she wants here (get a job, rent apartment etc.) - if they have Belgian nationality I wouldn't have thought that length of time out of the country really plays a factor. Maybe being married would help you get a visa to enter Belgium yourself but like I said, I would seek advice from the embassy.

Oct 28, 2016 11:34

I don't particularly need to become a Belgian Citizen, I guess. Really we just want to live there, probably only for a few years. I suppose I should have realized that sooner, as I know some visas are good for a longer time, like 5 years. I can enter Belgium without a visa just for being a US citizen (as long as I have a ticket out again haha), so that shouldn't be an issue, as one of these answers mentioned.
But a longer-term (3-5 years maybe?) visa- on the grounds of marriage?

Oct 29, 2016 02:38

"Secondly, can I apply for a visa simply for being married to them...? "
I first thought this was a case of polygamy or polygyny.
It turned out to be twisted grammar.

Oct 29, 2016 07:10

Using they as a gender-neutral alternative to he or she is perfectly fine unless you're being particularly anal-retentive.

Eddie_Rich, are you planning on working here?

Oct 29, 2016 19:25

I'd suggest you come and live here prior to become a citizen because why would you want to do that in a place you have never lived and your other half hasn't lived in a good while from what you say. Like all places there are good and bad things to living here

Nov 3, 2016 00:37

Like we have all been saying talk to the embassy that's the best way and anyrate rules may change. Happened to a friend of mine in the uk sent off her pasorrt birth ceritfacte so did her afriaicn fiancée and the papers got delayed by a change in the law. In the end they had to cancel their wedding rather than marrying in the uk they went to Ghana but she then had a terrible time getting her hubbie into uk again and they met when he went to uni there and he had previously resided there three years happily he's now legal in the UK but it's wasn't easy and i suspect the same may happen to you. Maybe the easiest thing is try and find a job and get them to sort out your visa

Nov 3, 2016 00:42

@SD - I do plan on working there, but I worry about finding employment with a company willing to be the reason for my visa in under 90 days. I'm a baker, and I doubt that bakers are in such high demand in Belgium that bakeries are hard-pressed to find people who are already legal to work there! So, I was hoping that I could get some kind of visa that allowed me to work (as opposed to a visa dependent upon me working) due to marriage so that it would be easier to find a job! Make sense?
And yes, I'm marrying someone who uses they/them pronouns.

Nov 3, 2016 00:55